It’s a modern trope in our culture that men don’t share their feelings and that this is some kind of problem to be overcome. This, of course, is absurd.
Men share their feelings all day long. Ask them if they’ve had a good day. Ask them what they think of John Deere tractors. Ask them what they want for lunch. They’ll answer.
Ask them about falling in love. Ask them about gravy, or how they feel about their wives, or kids, or porridge. They’ll answer. Quite often, they’ll even tell you what they think and feel (for the two are mostly inseparable) without even being asked.
Some will say that the reason men don’t share their feelings is because they are expected to be strong and stoic. This too is false. It’s not that men are expected to be strong and stoic. They want to be. Just as some woman want to be thin and beautiful.
The idea that men don’t share their feelings gained significant attention and cultural influence during the late 20th century.
One of the key figures responsible for this idea was the American psychologist Dr. William Pollack. In his 1998 book, “Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood”.
Pollack introduced the concept of the “Boy Code,” which refered to the expectation that boys conform to traditional masculine norms. You know, the kind of traditional masculine norms that have the fortitude and dedication to build bridges, and railways, and maintain our sewage systems and water supplies, as well as the agricultural systems that feed a family.
With little-to-no empirical evidence, Pollack decided that traditional masculine norms needed an overhaul. By which it seems he meant that, rather then appreciate the differences between men and women, what boys really needed, was to be feminised.
Curiously, one of the main criticisms levelled at his book back then was that it was an attempt to dismantle gender stereotypes. And here we are, man boobs and all.
It’s true that men, on average, don’t talk as much as women, at least, not about themselves. Pollock wanted to attribute this to some kind of emotional suppression.
But it can be equally attributed to a few other traditional masculine norms – norms worth aiming for. Things like wisdom, maturity and discretion.
In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise. (Proverbs 10:19)
The verbal salad of a five-year-old boy can be amusing, and even entertaining for a young mum. But very few women are amused by a whining, self-absorbed, 40-year-old infant sob-sister for a husband (1 Samuel 25:3-13, 23-25).
Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks wisdom, but a man of understanding remains silent. (Proverbs 1:12)
Loose lips, sink ships.
Originating in World War II, the slogan was used by the U.S. Office of War Information (OWI) to promote security and discourage careless talk that could potentially aid the enemy.
The phrase served as a concise warning that loose or careless talk can have grave consequences. One of which includes a good sound beating, something most men have an aversion to.
A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. (Proverbs 18:6-7)
Jesus, the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24), was a man who knew how to speak what was on his mind (Matthew 22:29, Luke 22:42). He also knew when and how to be silent (Matthew 27:14).
You can call it emotional suppression if you want. But the Bible, in it’s right and proper place, calls it wisdom. Wisdom emanating from a right and proper fear of the Lord.